The Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) has recently received more than $1.5 million to serve youth at risk of delinquency or those who commit low-level crimes.
The funding was awarded from the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) FY 2021 Delinquency Prevention Grants Program and will be used to target unfunded or underfunded services in Nevada’s lowest-income counties.
DCFS’s Juvenile Justice Programs Office (JJPO) applied for these funds to support programs and efforts in Carson, Storey, Clark, Churchill, Elko, Lyon, and Washoe counties.
Delinquency Prevention Grant funds can be used to support programs for individuals ages 17 and younger who are at risk of delinquency or commit low-level crimes and/or status offenses. The goal of delinquency prevention is to divert youth from deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system by addressing needs upon referral or entry into the system.
Projects anticipated as part of this award include:
Funds for mental health and sex offender assessments in rural counties (Carson, Storey, Churchill, Elko, Lyon, and Washoe). Many juveniles referred to the juvenile justice system are without insurance, so these assessments are funded with state or county funds.
Funds for a Prevention Before Apprehension (PBA) project in Las Vegas. PBA is a proactive educational outreach program that involves officers in plain clothes teaming with Clark County School District (CCSD) social workers to provide delinquency prevention education to parents and youth.
There is no single cause that drives youth to commit acts of delinquency, but some factors are poverty, lack of supervision, substance abuse, and mental health disorders. Services and/or funds to address these needs are effective in preventing deeper system involvement.
“We are focusing on front-end services, or services to prevent juveniles from committing additional crimes,” JJPO Chief Leslie Bittleston stated. “It is more efficient to provide front end services than to house a youth in county juvenile detention facility or state youth facility.”
Delinquency is a term used specifically for juveniles aged 17 and below, who commit crimes. There are two types of crimes that a juvenile can commit:
• A status offense: This is an offense for an individual aged 17 or below, but not for someone 18 or older. Examples of status offenses include runaway, truancy, and curfew.
• A delinquent offense: This is an offense committed by a youth aged 17 and below that would also be a crime if committed by someone ages 18 and above.
Funds are available from October 1, 2021, through September 30, 2026. DCFS will collect and report the number of youths served and the outcome of the services annually to OJJDP.